United States


Lovely Warren


208,046 (2017)

Lead Innovation Officer

Henry Fitts

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve internal government operations

  • Save costs and improve efficiency within the public sector

  • Improve service delivery

  • Improve resident outcomes

  • Simplify administrative procedures for firms and residents

  • Generate new sources of revenue

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Leadership from Mayor

  • Engagement with partners

  • Support from outside city administration

Spotlight on innovation in Rochester

Rochester has launched several innovative initiatives including:

  • Bikeshare and Vanpool
  • Worker Owned Cooperatives – OWN Rochester
  • Crowdfunded Microloans – Kiva Rochester
  • Adult Mentorship – Bridges to Success
  • Data Analysis and Dashboarding

Note: The City Innovation Snapshot (PDF version) was produced in 2018 and some aggregate findings have been updated with the latest survey results below.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

Along with 50% of cities surveyed, Rochester does not have an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to 24% of cities surveyed, Rochester approaches innovation capacity in specific policy areas/domains.

Policy areas that Rochester is focused on

Economic Development
Policy areas by number of cities

Rochester utilizes 4 different innovation skills or roles

Project manager
Data scientist
Communication officer
Community engagement staff
Innovation roles by number of cities

Situated in the Mayor’s office, Rochester’s dedicated team for innovation led by the Director of Innovation consists of 6 staff. In addition, the Chief Performance Officer leads process improvement and data initiatives.

Terms Rochester most associates with innovation

Data analytics

Rochester's most common innovation activities

Taking risks and testing new ideas
e.g. prototyping new programs or models to address a persistent city challenge
Promoting data-driven analytics / public data management
e.g. data storage/analytics; open data; big data
Facilitating organizational change within the municipality
e.g. silo-busting; new internal performance management; staff training and capacity building on innovation tools or techniques; reforms to contracting or procurement
Rethinking approaches to financing and partnerships
e.g. new public-private-partnerships; collaboration with neighboring jurisdictions
  1. 1

    Taking risks or testing new ideas

  2. 2

    Data-driven analytics/public data management

  3. 3

    Engaging residents in new ways

  4. 4

    Developing new solutions based on digital technologies

  5. 5

    Organizational change within the municipality

  6. 6

    Human-centered design

  7. 7

    Rethinking your city’s approach to financing partnerships

How is innovation funded here?

Like 81% of cities surveyed, Rochester has dedicated funding to support innovation capacity.

Top sources of funding

Municipal budget
Municipal budget
This could include, for instance, City Council approved funds; operating budget; a special funding process (bond, Mayoral special initiative funding, etc.); and participatory budgeting / citizen-selected budgeting.

Activities being funded

Launching or sustaining a project
47 cities
Launching or sustaining a project
79 cities
Idea generation & brainstorming
51 cities
Investing in digital systems
36 cities
Investing in physical infrastructure
30 cities
Paying for services

How is innovation measured?

Rochester has developed partnerships to promote its innovation capacity with other public agencies, private firms, not-for-profit organizations, and city residents/resident associations.

To improve data use, the city has also developed data partnerships with the private sector, academia, think tanks, and philanthropy to collect and analyze data.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data


Policing and law enforcement


Environment and climate change

Insufficient data

Economic Development

Housing and built environment


Waste and sewage

Labour market and skills



Social inclusion and equity


Digital governance

No Response

Public works